27 March 2016

Ontario Rabies Update

This week, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry updated the number of rabies cases in Ontario to 70 since the first case was discovered in December 2015.

This includes 51 raccoons and 19 skunks infected with the raccoon rabies strain.

Rabies (Lyssavirus) is an infectious disease that affects the central nervous system in mammals. It’s transmitted through the saliva when the animal “sheds” the virus. Rabies is not transmitted through the blood, urine, or feces of an infected animal, nor is it spread airborne through the open environment. Because it affects the nervous system, most rabid animals behave abnormally.

Historically, bats, foxes and skunks are the most common carriers of rabies in Canada, with coyotes and raccoons added to this list in the United States. It is believed this rabies outbreak in Ontario was caused by a raccoon that rode into Canada on a semi-truck from the US.

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